Call me by my nickname, says leader

Published: Wednesday 22nd October 2014 by The News Editor

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Indonesia’s new president says he wants to be called by his nickname and has revealed that a French furniture buyer gave him his name.

Joko Widodo, who was sworn in as president on Monday, has long been widely known as Jokowi, a contraction of his two names.

Asked by a journalist of The Jakarta Post newspaper what he would like to be called, he said “Joko” would be awkward, and “Mr Widodo or President Widodo” would sound strange.

“President Jokowi,” he said, for those who insist on attaching his official title. “But otherwise, just Jokowi.”

Website Kompas quoted him as saying a French man gave him the name when he was buying furniture from Jokowi (pronounced jo-KO-wee) in his days as a businessman before going into politics in 2005.

The French man was buying on Java island from several people called Joko, so he added the “wi” to help him.

The paper said the man, identified as Bernard, visited Jokowi on Monday in Jakarta and published a photo of them together.

Jokowi’s predecessor, Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, was better known by his initials, SBY.

Abdurrahman Wahid, another former president, was often addressed as Gus Dur. Gus is an honorific meaning older brother; the Dur was taken from Abdurrahman.

Some foreign leaders and officials already refer to the current president, Indonesia’s seventh, as Jokowi, as do local and foreign media.

Published: Wednesday 22nd October 2014 by The News Editor

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